by Linda Cahan
Our visual impressions are instant and lasting. Eighty percent of our memories of a shopping experience is based on what we saw. Of course, what we experienced – good, bad or meh, matters as well. But, the visuals stick with us. This article will inspire you to make some simple changes to your retail environment to improve sales and develop loyal and satisfied customers.
1. Clear the Clutter
Interior clutter is an insidious killer of sales. Those piles of boxes from UPS belong in the stockroom along with the RTV’s, holds and the “we’ll fix this one of these days” box of goods. As the Nike commercial says – “JUST DO IT.” Allot one day per week to deal with clutter. Make it a priority on that day. It will amaze you how different the store feels once the clutter is reduced. Ideally, the clutter should be eliminated completely. It drains energy from your store and eventually from your sales.
2. People Notice Window Displays
Window display is a very immediate form of advertising. Windows are a form of street art and entertainment. When a person walks or drives by a store and the windows are bright and graphic, heads will swivel, and they will pay attention. If they notice your windows they will remember your store when they have the time, money, inclination or need to shop. If your windows change regularly, they will continue to look your way to see what’s new. People will come to see your store as a part of their daily lives. The more often you change your windows, the more often people will look in your direction and note your existence. Once your store is part of their routine, they will shop you when the need arrives. Make sure you light up your windows!
3. Move it, Move it, Move it
Have you ever noticed that when you move things around on the selling floor, people start looking at whatever you’re moving? When you move something or change it, it gets energized. That may sound weird but it’s true. Experiment after you finish this article. Move the merchandise on one shelf. See if the sales improve in that area over the next two days.
4. Light it up!
This can get a little expensive. Let’s start with what’s free first. If you have spotlights, make sure they are lighting up merchandise or a sign. Refocus all your lights. It’s free, fairly easy and can instantly make the store look brighter. If you have all fluorescents and the store seems dim, it may be time to change them out. Fluorescents start fading from the first week they’re installed. So, if you’ve had them up without changing them for a long time, it’s possible you’re getting half the light you started with. When you can afford it, switch to LED’s. Switch now and you’ll save a ton of money over time – along with the planet. A win-win!
5. Bring Feng Shui into your Store Layout
I wrote a book “Feng Shui for Retailers” in 2005. It simplifies the complicated concepts that genuinely help people create successful, healthy and prosperous environments. A few ideas: Get rid of anything that blocks your entrance including overwhelmingly tall/large/or wide fixtures in the front. Remove sharp corners in tight spaces. Light up dark areas. Add warmly toned lights to your checkout counter and consultation desks to make the transactions friendlier and more positive.
Hints for Creating Effective Window Displays
More Equals Less Money
The more you jam into a window, the less expensive the merchandise looks. The perception is that lots of merchandise equals low prices. Of course, if you’re discounting, a busy window may work well for you.
The three things people notice most in a display are color, angles and movement. Colors that people notice from the street tend to be warm: reds, pinks, yellows, oranges and lime green. Recessive colors are: browns, tan, beige, gray, blues, soft or dark greens and darker shades of purple.
If when you look at your store from the street the interior looks almost black, you need large graphic pieces in light and bright colors to attract attention. If your see-through is bright and light, you can get away with darker or more recessive colors in the windows.
Use Angles to Create Movement.
Angles lead the eye from place to place. Visual energy moves quickly down an angle and makes a window display look and feel more exciting. Whenever you use angles, make sure the primary angle leads the customer to your front door.
Too many angles can cause visual confusion. A triangular form made up of props, forms and merchandise in a window generally looks great and creates angles and a focal area without looking disorganized.
Make it Easy to do Great Displays.
Hang a grid in your window perpendicular to the floor. Have it installed professionally so you can hang from it almost anything. Once your grid is installed you can start getting creative and have some fun with props.
Pick a Theme and Stick with it.
Once you decide on your window theme, don’t stick new arrivals in the window. If you have new arrivals that you are excited about, either create a new arrivals area in the front of the store in a prime focal area or, do a new window display. Don’t pollute your existing display.